2019 Book #18 – The Time Traveler’s Guide to Modern Romance by Madeline J. Reynolds

51GhoOR5+lLTitle: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Modern Romance
Author: Madeline J. Reynolds
Date finished: 3/7/19
Genre: Young adult, romance, science fiction
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Publication Date: March 4, 2019
Pages in book: 166
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Elias Caldwell needs more than his life in nineteenth-century England has to offer. He’d rather go on an adventure than spend one more minute at some stuffy party. When his grandfather gives him a pocket watch he claims can transport him to any place and time, Elias doesn’t believe it…until he’s whisked away to twenty-first-century America.

Tyler Forrester just wants to fall hopelessly in love. But making that kind of connection with someone has been more of a dream than reality. Then a boy appears out of thin air, a boy from the past. As he helps Elias navigate a strange new world for him, introducing him to the wonders of espresso, binge-watching, and rock and roll, Tyler discovers Elias is exactly who he was missing.

But their love has time limit. Elias’s disappearance from the past has had devastating side effects, and now he must choose where he truly belongs—in the Victorian era, or with the boy who took him on an adventure he never dreamed possible?

My rating:  2.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I was intrigued by the cover on this book and thought it would be an interesting one to read, though I’m not sure that was the best idea since I’m not usually the biggest fan of time travel novels. I tend to find them a little too out there for me, I tend to be more of a literal person so books that delve into science fiction I can’t always get into. Plus I’ve been finding it harder and harder to connect with characters in romance young adult books. That phase is so far in the past for me that I have trouble remembering what it feels like to be young and full of angst. So suffice it to say, this book wasn’t what I’d call my cup of tea. That being said, it was an interesting book and if you like (a) time travel / science fiction (b) young adult romance or (c) preferably both, then this would be a good book to check out. The story line was interesting and was a fairly quick read but still had character and plot development. I found the plot to be a tad scattered but again that could be the result of my ambivalence to the plot for person opinion reasons.

Link to author website

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2017 Book #59 – Together by Linda Lael Miller

9780062005908_5b5a4Title: Together
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Date finished: 7/15/17
Genre: Historical romance, contemporary romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017 (Reprint; originally published 1996)
Pages in book: 432
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

For the first time in over ten years comes New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller’s breathtaking stories filled with the promise of love. Five unforgettable tales, Together in one volume…

Together…for a second chance at life and love—THAT OTHER KATHERINE

Together…when misdirected desire unexpectedly leads to lasting happiness—STORE-BOUGHT WOMAN

Together…as mistrust turns into steadfast devotion—THE SCENT OF SNOW

Together…a couple once torn apart by greed is now reunited by a vow of eternal love—IN ALL SEASONS

Together…a cat in the family way helps ignite love in two sparring neighbors—FAMILY AFFAIR (Interestingly enough, this story is not included in the book. Switch is included instead about two twin’s switching lives for a few months)

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is a compilation of 5 short stories all by the same author. In order within the book: In All Seasons: This story is of Melissande Bradgate, the daugher of a wealthy shipping merchant, and Christian Lithwell, the second son of an Earl. These two fall in love but tragic events tear them apart. When they are brought back together it takes a lot of time to see if they can be together again. I thought this story was ok but, like the other stories in the novel, I couldn’t really get into the story line and characters I couldn’t see any development. The Scent of Snow: This story is about Rebecca and her two half-sisters Annabelle and Susan. Rebecca thought her friend Lucas Kiley died but when he shows up after she’s told the whole town they had been married so now they have to pretend to be married. I particularly didn’t care for this one, it was unrealistic and puritanical. That Other Katherine: This story is about Katherine Hollis, who realizes that she is dying in a hospital in 1991 and after begging to live wakes up in the body of Katherine Winslow in the year 1895 during the midst of childbirth. Her husband Gavin hates her and the whole town knows about her most recent affair. This story was really interesting and I thought it had a lot of potential but then the ending kind of lost me, everything was wrapped up too quickly. Store-Bought Woman: Bess Campbell travels across the country to marry John Tate, only his brother Will is the only one she finds. They basically figure out how to make it work. This one was really cheesy and made me roll my eyes a bit. I didn’t particularly like it. Switch: This book weirdly enough is not listed in the description, but anyways this story is about Jamie Roberts, who switches places with her twin sister, Sara, at Sara’s request. Unknown to her she’s walking into a world of danger. Luckily she finds she can count on Sara’s previous lover, Rowan Parrish, to help her out. The concept behind this was weird, the whole Rowan + Sara and then Rowan + Jamie thing. Other than that there were some ok points to the story but I wasn’t engaged much at all.

The bottom line: I didn’t particularly like this book. There wasn’t much character or plot development, even for short stories. I wouldn’t recommend.

Link to author website

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2017 Book #32 – Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt

51bRO8XaIOLTitle: Hannah’s Moon
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 4/12/17
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: February 8, 2017
Pages in book: 298
Stand alone or series: #5 in American Journey series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel. Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple, straightforward mission becomes a race for survival. Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, HANNAH’S MOON, the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Claire Rasmussen, who along with her husband, Ron, and brother, David, travel back in time to 1945 in order to adopt a baby. Claire and David’s uncle, Geoffrey Bell, guides them through the process and then, with his wife Jeanette, leaves them to their mission in 1945 while they go off to South America. Ron and Claire easily find a daughter available for adoption but they have to wait 3 months for the adoption to be final. During that time they befriend the woman living across the street, Margaret. David develops a particular attachment to her even though she is engaged to a Navy man. The plan is for Claire, Ron, their daughter Hannah, and David to head back through the portal as soon as the adoption goes through. But unfortunately fate is not that kind and there are not one but three major kinks thrown into their plans, all of which could keep them from returning at all.
Overall I liked this book. The plot line was really interesting for this one and had multiple things going on at once, which I liked. There were many points in this book that were moving and I thought the author did a great job of capturing the characters’ strength of emotions in those moments. Especially the pieces about Ron towards the end, there was a lot of tension and emotion in those moments that jumped out at me. The ending was interesting too because although it is the “finale” of the series I feel like it opens the door for a related series for future time travelers.

The bottom line: Overall I have enjoyed this series, and the time travel aspect in general is very interesting. There was some really good tension in this plot line, and there were some very emotionally touching parts as well. I would recommend, especially if you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series.

Link to author website

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2016 Book #112 – Class of ’59 by John A. Heldt

51exjaufawlTitle: Class of ’59
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 11/24/16
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Pages in book: 293
Stand alone or series: #4 in American Journey series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.
In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.
Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Mary Beth McIntire, a recent college graduate preparing to head to medical school, and her sister Piper, a recent high school graduate. Mary Beth has been through some trauma lately as her long-time sweetheart and fiancee was shot and killed in front of her during a convenience store robbery. Mary Beth has been trying to recover ever since then, so after Piper graduates from high school their parents take them on a vacation to California to stay in a friend’s house, the house of Mr. Geoffrey Bell. Readers of this series would know Geoffrey from previous books, as the tunnel under his house has been used in multiple time-travel adventures. Mary Beth encounters Mark Ryan as he discovers this exact use of the tunnel, and after reconciling the fact that they now have access to a time travel tunnel Mark, Mary Beth, Piper, and Mark’s brother Ben (a senior in high school) decide to have a few fun adventures. With Mary Beth and Piper being from the year 2017 and Mark and Ben from 1959 though, they all certainly never expected to develop deep, long-lasting attachments to each other. But after a month spent in each other’s company that is exactly what happens and the two couples must face this and decide what to do about it. And when their lives come to be in danger from mobsters who’ve figured out their secret, will they even be able to make it out of the past alive?
Overall I liked this book. I have found each book in this series interesting and I love the creative process of creating a time travel tunnel and all that entails. This book didn’t end up being my favorite in the series, mostly because I felt like the ending was a little to convenient and was just a little rushed compared to the rest of the story, it didn’t fit right for me. This didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book, just left me a little unsettled still at the end. I love that in each book the reader learns about a different era/region. It is fun to hear what the different characters in each book decide to do with this opportunity. This would be a great read for those interested in time travel and for anyone looking for a light-hearted adventure.

The bottom line: I overall like the series and the time travel aspect in general is very interesting. This wasn’t my favorite of the series but was still a good read. I would recommend, especially if you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series.

Link to author website

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2016 Book #68 – Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

51XlqNu7xmL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Indiana Belle
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 7/10/16
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: April 14, 2016
Pages in book: 295
Stand alone or series: #3 in American Journey series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the “time-travel professor,” and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Cameron Coelho, a doctoral student from Providence, RI studying societal norms and customs during the 1920’s, with a specific emphasis in Indiana, as part of his doctoral research. During the course of his studies, he comes across some diary entries of a Miss Candice Bell, some of which mention time travel. He discusses this with one of his professors, who directs him to talk to a colleague named Geoffrey Bell in California. Geoffrey turns out to be a relative of Candice’s, and since he has a great personal interest in Candice and her diary entries (specifically whether she knows of the location of her father’s lost diary) he offers Cameron the chance of a life time: to travel back in time. It is in the 1920’s that Cameron is able to meet the girl he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about, Candice Bell herself. Though Geoffrey has warned Cameron not to interfere in the past, Cameron can’t help but develop deep feelings for this vivacious and intelligent young woman.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was fairly predictable but this actually added to my enjoyment of the story since I knew I wouldn’t be left disappointed at the end. I liked the characters in this book, and the villains were adequately evil and also got a somewhat justified end. I liked that we were able to look into the future in this book in an interesting way and I thought that it fit well within the story line, and honestly it did make a lot of sense to me because I agreed with Cameron that the government is heading in that direction. I think the concept of time travel is just really interesting and I like the story lines of these books and how the author approaches time travel. This is I think the 5th book I’ve read by this author and I’ve enjoyed all of them. This was a good read and I would say anyone who likes to read about time travel should definitely give it a try!

The bottom line: I enjoyed both the story line and the characters in this book, and I love the author’s continued creativity with the concept of time travel. There were some cringe-worthy moments and some of the conversations were a bit awkward but it didn’t detract overall from my enjoyment of the book. A good read and I would recommend!

Link to author website

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2016 Book #36 – The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

51vl1T1gaGL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Year We Turned Forty
Author: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Date finished: 4/19/16
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Pages in book: 319
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.
Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he’s getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.
Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.
Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she’s recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.
But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I actually won a free copy of the ARC by entering a contest on their Facebook site and was so excited to read it! Also, this book will count towards my “PopSugar 2016 Checklist” reading challenge, marking off the “a book with a blue cover” since this book has a blue cover. This book was about three best friends: Gabriela, Claire, and Jessie. In some way or another their lives all change on their fortieth birthday that affects them for the next ten years. We next meet them in Las Vegas on their fiftieth birthday when they are offered the chance to travel back in time and relive their fortieth year, thereby possibly changing things for the better by doing things differently this time around.
Things don’t go quite as they expected though. Gabriela, who always wished she had a baby, has trouble conceiving. Claire repairs her relationship with her daughter but comes close to losing her again. And Jessie has managed to hold onto her husband Grant but only by keeping a huge secret from him, and how long can she really expect to keep him in the dark? The three friends journey through their fortieth year (for the second time) hoping that the mistakes their making this time somehow turn out better for them than the mistakes they made the first time. It almost reminds me (very loosely) of when you’re taking a multiple choice test and you have the option of a, b, c, or d and you have no idea which one it is. So the first time you guess a and get it wrong so the next time you guess b and hope its right but have no way of knowing. Gabriela, Claire, and Jessie had no way of knowing how their actions would affect not only themselves this time but all the loved ones that surrounded them as well.
Overall I really enjoyed this book a lot. I thought the plot line was immensely creative. It was heart-wrenching to see the characters struggle through the challenges in their relived lives but at the same time it allows the reader to connect more with the characters and their emotions. The ending was heart-warming and moving and I didn’t want to put the book down until I found out what happened. I also thought that this book dealt well with a variety of relationship issues, including husband and wife and parent and child in many different forms. I loved one of Jessie’s “lessons” from her relived life, that you should learn to love and appreciate what you have instead of always looking for the next thing that will help you be happy. I think that is an important thought since many people are continually trying to buy the next released phone or the next gaming system or the next whatever to gain some sort of happiness. But happiness is something that comes from being content in who you are and what you have and who is in your life. An important concept for people to think on nowadays.

The bottom line: I really liked this book, this one was definitely a tear-jerker and hit me hard in the feels. Definitely have a couple tissues handy. This was such a moving book though and was such a creative plot idea. Great book and a definite must read for summer!!

Link to author website

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2016 Book #8 – Mercer Street by John A. Heldt

51p1JJ+GdUL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTitle: Mercer Street
Author: John A. Heldt
Date finished: 1/31/16
Genre: Fiction, Time travel
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: October 21, 2015
Pages in book: 431
Stand alone or series: #2 in American Journey series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Weeks after her husband dies in the midst of an affair in 2016, Chicago writer Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel. Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties. Filled with poignancy, heartbreak, and intrigue, MERCER STREET gives new meaning to courage, sacrifice, and commitment as it follows three strong-willed souls on the adventure of a lifetime.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about a trio of women, Elizabeth (the grandmother), Susan (the mother) and Amanda (the daughter). This trio of women are on vacation when they attend a lecture being given at their resort that will change their lives forever. Following the lecture, they spend some time with the speaker, Professor Bell, who asks them to come to his house for lunch. It is there that he reveals that time travel is in fact a real thing and that he would like to invite the trio of women to participate if they would like.
And so Elizabeth, Susan, and Amanda travel back in time to 1938. There they make friendships and develop relationships with many people in the time period. From those relationships, both Amanda and Susan have to decide how to move forward with the rest of their lives and what to do with these men they’ve grown fond of even though they eventually have to return to the twenty-first century. For Elizabeth it is a different issue. She traveled back to 1938 specifically to see her estranged parents when they first moved to America with her one-year old self. And that is what she does. She develops a friendship with her mother that she was not able to enjoy in her normal life and has to decide whether to tell her mother and father about who she really is.
Overall I enjoyed this book. I liked the story line and honestly there was a surprised twist at the ending that I didn’t really see coming which was cool. For me I found some of the points in the story line slightly unbelievable so there were some small holes there but I still enjoyed the book overall. I’ve read other books by this author and also enjoyed them, also about time travel. I think the concept of time travel is just really interesting and I like the story lines of these books and how the author approaches time travel. This was a good read and I would say anyone who likes to read about time travel should definitely give it a try!

The bottom line: I found both the story line and the characters in this book interesting. I thought there were a few holes in the story line and some of the conversations were a bit awkward but it didn’t detract overall from my enjoyment of the book. A good read and I would recommend!

Link to author website

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